I was going to write a post tonight about our fourth day in Taiwan as we traveled from Taipei to Tainan. But that’s not really what’s on my heart tonight. We meet our daughter in only 13 hours. I thought I’d share a few of my thoughts, what’s on my heart this last night of being a family of two. Tomorrow we start life as a family of three.
This trip to Taiwan has been eye-opening. I am falling in love with the country. Life here is so different than life in Bellevue, Washington and yet there are similarities. I’ve been watching the people here. They love and laugh and cry just as I do. And yet there are things that are very different. The pace of life is different here, though I can’t really put my finger on the difference. People are curious about Jeff and I as we walk down the street but are either too shy or reserved to say anything. We stand out. My daughter blends in.
Getting used to the traffic has been an adventure, but I love the way that people are confident about where they need to go and know that they can get there. Pedestrians, bicyclists, scooters, and drivers alike know where they want to go and don’t hesitate to jump out there. And yet it’s organized chaos.
I love the street life here. There are so many little family shops and stalls and food carts. Walking down the street, you see so many different types of foods and clothes and and more food for sale. You can get to everything on foot or take a cheap taxi ride. It’s just so alive.
And we’re taking our daughter away from all of this. Yes, I know we’re giving her a family and I do believe that family is more important than culture. But she’s losing Taiwan and its language and its culture. Her life in America is going to be drastically different than her life would be like in Taiwan. She chose to join our family, she said yes to the judge when asked, but I really wonder if she knew what she was saying yes to. Before we arrived in Taiwan, I didn’t realize just how much we were asking for her to leave behind.
Tomorrow we meet for the first time and I am both excited and terrified. I am excited for the possibilities of our life together. I am excited at the life and security and love that we are offering her. I am excited to get to know our daughter and learn what she’s good at, what she’s afraid of, what her dreams are, what makes her cry, what makes her laugh. I’m excited to watch our first movie together, to play basketball together, to go clothes shopping together, and to eat our first meal together.
And I am also terrified. We’ve been working toward adoption for over two years. We’ve been reading and researching older child adoption, culture loss, grief, trauma, transitions, and a host of other issues and challenges for so long. We’ve embraced the principle of “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” And so we are getting ready to meet our daughter with our eyes wide open of how hard life could be. She’s had a hard life and she’s going to have emotional scars from that. The question is how deep is her pain and how much will it impact all three of us.
I wish that I could embrace adoption as a lovely gift that’s full of joy. But I know that adoption comes from loss. Our daughter already lost both of her parents. Now she’s losing her friends, her caretakers, her culture. She’s gaining parents, security, love, and hope. Our transition could be really hard or it could be really easy or anywhere in between. Both Jeff and I want to adopt again; we have been praying and hoping for an “easy” first adoption so that we will have the courage to adopt again, to say yes to another long and emotional adoption journey.
I pray that my daughter is at peace tonight. I pray that she will have courage to face all of the changes that are coming her way. I pray that she will allow us to love her.